A Few Words on Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto
Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto is part memoir, part travelogue, interspersed with historical accounts of the bombing of Hiroshima.
This book was not quite what I expected, but the lyrical nature of Rizzuto’s narrative made this book well worth reading. Rizzuto was provided with a 6 month grant in 2001 to go to Hiroshima and interview survivors of the atomic bomb. In her book, instead of focusing primarily on the survivors of the bomb she explores the natures of relationships, independence, and motherhood. She is a woman in another country away from her family for the first time. Rizzuto writes eloquently about her experiences in Hiroshima and the complex situation of being away from her husband and two children.
Also as a New Yorker in the middle of her time in Hiroshima 9/11 occurs. She discusses how this affects her family and friends as well as the survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. There is a definite change in attitudes among the survivors which she chronicles well.
One of the primary explorations in this book is that of motherhood. She is a mother herself and her relationship with her children and husband change over the course of her time in Hiroshima — she is becoming more distant. Rizzuto also is losing her mother to dementia and explores her relationship and close bonds with her. Rizzuto’s relationships and personality change as she spends time in Japan alone. She even begins to endure a failing relationship with her husband.
What makes this book incredibly successful is Rizzuto’s way with words. Her writing is beautiful and full of emotion. It makes the book flow in a way it may not have if the narrative style had been any different. Overall this is a wonderfully written book about many aspects of a journey taken by a writer.